Fandom: RE: Genesis/ RE: Apocalypse
Pairing: Eventual Alice/Claire.
Rating: M to be on the safe side. (For now, just for language).
Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with Resident Evil. That includes the films, the books based on the films (by Keith R.A. DeCandido), the games, or the books based on the games (by S.D. Perry). I may use any of these as resources/foundations for this story, and no copyright infringement is intended. As I said, I don't own any of those, and this is just for fun. I also don't own Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which was written by the genius Lewis Caroll. Any quotes taken from there are obviously not mine, either.
A/N: Okay, this note is sort of a preface, so bear with me if it's a tad long. This started out as a fic that I've had in the works for essentially three years, but as my writing is often wont to do, it has become something else entirely. Still, it's a project that is very dear to my heart, so I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. The idea of this fic is that it will be a three-volume series, following the movies very closely, but with some obvious and rather huge changes. You'll notice, for one, that this volume is titled "Apocalyptic Genesis" - that isn't so much me trying to be clever as me indicating that this volume is almost like a fusion of the two, in the sense that it begins before Genesis and skips into Apocalypse. The reason for that is I don't intend to make any changes to the plot within Genesis (or, not any major ones), so therefore there is no reason for me to waste a lot of energy rehashing something you've already seen (and potentially read).
The timeline of the movies is, as you know, fucked up beyond all reason. Because of that, I'm using my own timeline, and I'm setting this (which happens before Genesis) at more or less the end of August. Apocalypse will be about a month later at the end of September.
Thank you for bearing with me. Remember that comments/feedback are always appreciated, and above all, enjoy!
Volume I: Apocalyptic Genesis
Prologue: Down the Rabbit-Hole
De corde exeunt cogitationes malae.
("For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.")
Ever since she was a little girl, Alice Abernathy had always been an early riser. At lot of things had changed since then, but that much at least remained a constant. So it was quite natural, for Alice at least, to be awake and already dressed by quarter past six on a Sunday morning – on her day off, no less – and walking the expansive grounds on which the Spencer Mansion had been built.
Her feet followed a familiar path, easily guiding her through the shroud of darkness that had yet to be banished by the sun. She was headed to what had become her favourite place on the property: a large hill that offered a vantage point from which to overlook not only the grounds, but also the Arklay Mountains, which surrounded the neighbourhood of Foxwood Heights.
As she crested the top of the hill, Alice could see the sun just beginning to break across the horizon; as it did, little streams of gold pierced through the dark, casting ribbons of glowing light upon the earth below. This was the reason why she loved to wake up so early: there was something powerful, something eternal, in the moment when the sun gave life to a new day. It held within it a promise, always, that something good may come. In the chaos that life seemed to constantly inhabit, she found that moment of potential to be comforting. Whether or not she actually believed that it would come to fruition, well, that was a different issue altogether; still, that it existed at all was enough for her.
Alice lingered on her hill for about an hour, simply enjoying the majestic view and the calming sound of a gentle breeze rustling through the trees. The relative silence of the morning was punctuated on occasion by the warble of a songbird, or the odd cry of an eagle flying high above the mountains, carried distantly to her on the wind.
She would have liked to remain there for much longer, but her growling stomach dictated that she must return at last to her place of residence. The Spencer Mansion was built in the early 1960s for an eccentric billionaire by the name of Ozwell E. Spencer: one of the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, the company for whom Alice worked. The mansion was as bizarre as its namesake: it was full of hidden corridors, stairways, and alcoves, strange portraits and statues, and all the other kinds of things one might expect to encounter in a Gothic novel. Its oddities were fascinating, but they also gave it a cold, ghostly feeling that unnerved even Alice, who never had been superstitious.
The true purpose for its creation, however, was to conceal what lay below it: a secret entrance to Umbrella's research facility – the Hive. The facility itself was not kept a secret, because sequestering its five hundred employees underground, without anyone noticing their absence, would be a logistical nightmare that not even Umbrella could hope to undertake. But, due to the highly classified nature of some of their experiments, it was necessary to keep that entrance well guarded, for it gave them a solid line of defence against overly inquisitive individuals, the media's constant scrutiny, and thievery from competing companies.
Alice had just been promoted to Head of Security for the Hive, after having worked for the Corporation for about four years. One of the conditions of her promotion was that she had to endure a requisite three months of what they called "mansion duty," but which she considered to be nothing more than a glorified babysitting job. For those three months, she and another security operative, drawn by lot, had to assume the responsibility of guarding that entrance.
Once she was back inside the mansion, Alice made her way to its enormous kitchen to brew herself a coffee. The other agent who lived with her – a man by the name of Percival Spencer Parks, or "Spence," as he unsurprisingly insisted on being called – was there, making himself an omelette. On the counter opposite him, there was already a cup of freshly-made, steaming-hot coffee waiting for her. On the surface, it might have seemed like a nice gesture, but Alice knew better.
He looked up at her. "Where were you?"
She shrugged and answered simply, "Out."
Spence laughed. "Could you be any more vague, Alice?"
Living in the mansion, she was glad for company. It was a creepy place and not at all somewhere one would want to live alone, but sometimes Spence really got on her nerves. He always wanted to know where she was, or what she was doing, and it was stifling. He liked to say, 'Well, we are married; I shouldn't have to wonder where you've gone off to.' But their "marriage" – if it really could be called that – was all part of Umbrella's cover story, and she felt no more love for him than she did for the mailman.
"If you must know," Alice said, with irritation in her tone, "I was watching the sunrise."
He laughed again, and she wanted to hit him. Spence really was not a terrible guy, and if they had simply worked together, she might not have been so annoyed by him. But she resented the forced marriage, in part because it reminded her that she was twenty-seven and still single, but also because of the aforementioned literal way in which Spence took it. He seemed to forget that it was just a job, and that was all it ever would be.
"I never pegged you as the type," Spence remarked, taking his finished food and settling at an ornate marble table. "You don't seem that sentimental."
Most days, she would have let it slide; today, she was sick of his bullshit. Without a word, she turned on her heel and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?"
With her back to him, she replied, "Out."
Before she left, Alice made a quick detour to the mansion's library. It was a huge room, full of the type of old books that gave off a musty, aged smell. Those were located on an upper floor, and the shelves below contained newer volumes. Two of them, in particular, were stocked with books that were chosen for Alice and Spence respectively. From her own shelf, she grabbed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; with that in hand, she carried on to the hall that led to the front door. She put her coat and scarf on again – living near the mountains made it colder, and it was almost September – and then made her way out to the silver Jaguar that Umbrella had so thoughtfully provided for her.
She started the engine, keener than ever to begin her usual sojourn into town. Once she was on the road, however, her pace became unhurried: one of the things that she enjoyed the most about driving into Raccoon City every Sunday was the two mile commute. The road between Foxwood Heights and Raccoon was rarely busy, and the scenery along the way was all but breathtaking.
The top of the car was down, and the same breeze from earlier ruffled her light blonde hair. It was now just about eight o'clock, and the sun's rays were shining down warmly on her. It was going to be another beautiful day. She was alone on the road, and it gave her the freedom to shut her eyes for a moment and revel in the relief of being away from the mansion. To further separate herself from the place, she slipped off the ring – which had "Property of the Umbrella Corporation" inscribed on its underside – and pocketed it.
Raccoon was actually a rather large city, with a population of over 850,000 people, and it had been growing quite a bit as of late. Umbrella's presence had allowed the formerly small town to flourish within a few short decades, and its progress had not slowed. New attractions and social hotspots popped up almost every week, it seemed, and earlier that month she had happened upon one of them by chance.
It was a quaint little cafe, one of those up-and-coming sorts of places that newspapers liked to write features on, with a surprisingly diverse and enjoyable menu. The ambiance of the place was warm and homey; it was a perfect little haven amidst the urban jungle. There were booths along one side of the small dining area, some tables in the middle, and the opposite side had a number of overstuffed – and extremely comfortable – black leather chairs. The latter was where Alice liked to sit.
Alice approached the counter, and the young girl who always seemed to be working there on Sundays smiled at her as she did.
"Hi there," the girl, whose name was Taryn, greeted her kindly. "What can I get for you? The usual?"
Alice laughed at her own predictability. "Yes, please."
"Comin' right up."
A few minutes later, Taryn brought her a freshly-brewed mug of coffee and large cherry-filled Danish. Alice thanked her and took these to her usual seat. She settled in one of the chairs, setting her food and her book down on the glass coffee table that sat between her chair and the one opposite it.
Sometimes, it bothered her that the other chair always remained empty. Alice had developed a bad habit of neglecting her social life in favour of her work, and with the exception of people like Lisa Broward, she did not have all that many friends to spend time with. Even then, Lisa was more of a colleague than she was a friend.
It was not as if Alice were unlikable or misanthropic; she had just somehow lost track of what it meant to have a rewarding relationship with another person. She was not happy about it, not by any means, but she had reconciled it in her thoughts: she was only twenty-seven; she had plenty of time left to make up for it. And, she told herself, once she was free of "mansion duty" and Spence, her life would become much more interesting.
But other times, Alice liked the privacy that her solitude afforded. She had always been a bit of a loner, even before she had become so focused on her work, and having the time to herself was nice. She got a lot of reading done, and she also quite enjoyed looking up from her book from time to time to watch the interaction of the other patrons. She may have been just as cut off from them as she was when cooped up with Spence, but at least she could see and in some way feel connected to them by being there.
As Alice finished her Danish and opened her book to the first page, she had no idea that everything was about to change.
About three hours later, at around quarter past eleven, the bell above the cafe door jingled cheerily. As Alice's attention was drawn by the sound, her mind was given to a momentary fancy – which, much to her chagrin, sometimes occurred when she got really into a book – that the new arrival was none other than the white rabbit, and that she might hear, at any moment, a squeaky little voice exclaim, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!'* This was absurd, of course, for it was a person – not a rabbit – at the door. Nonetheless, the brief moment of imagination excited curiosity in Alice to see just who had come in.
It was a woman, probably a few years younger than Alice, with striking red hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. She had a pair of Ray Ban aviators in her hands, and she hooked them at the neck of her t-shirt. Her eyes were a remarkably clear blue, unlike any Alice had ever seen before. She wore a red leather jacket that almost matched the hue of her hair; it was unzipped, revealing the Sex Pistols design printed on her shirt, which was cropped short to expose a small strip of pale skin. Her jeans hung low on her hips, clinging to her legs as if painted on. There was something in her gait as she walked, in her deportment in general, that made it seem as if the world were hers, and she did not give a fuck what anyone thought. Yet, it was not arrogance that she exuded, but pure confidence, and it was as striking as her hair.
Alice returned her gaze to the book held in her hands; she had lost her page. She flipped through it until she found the right one again, returning her concentration to it for a while. Alice – Carroll's Alice, that is – had just come upon the perpetual mad tea party when a voice interrupted the Alice who was reading the story.
Alice looked up. The woman from earlier now stood opposite her, with a coffee cup in one hand and a plate laden with the contents of the cafe's signature all-day breakfast combo in the other. She had a friendly smile on her lips.
"Mind if I join you?" she asked, indicating the overstuffed leather chair across from Alice. "There's no room anywhere else."
Alice looked around. It was true. Since Alice's arrival several hours prior, the entire cafe had filled up - save, of course, for the empty spot in question. That had never happened before, but it was not all that surprising: The cafe was very popular.
"Sure," Alice answered, politely, though her tone was noncommittal. "Be my guest."
"Thanks," the woman said, setting her plate and cup on the table. She settled into the chair and added conversationally, "I appreciate it. I came on a motorcycle, so I can't exactly take this to go."
"It's no problem," Alice replied, turning back to her book with the intent to resume reading.
She had made it through less than a page, however, before she was compelled to look up again.
"I'm Claire, by the way."
The name suited her: it called to mind the clarity of her eyes.
The redhead had begun to eat, but those same eyes were fixed on Alice with expectation, as if she routinely conversed with people whom she was forced to sit across from in crowded cafes. It was an odd concept to Alice, but Claire seemed genuine, so she indulged her.
Claire arched an eyebrow. Her gaze flitted to the book held in Alice's hands, a smirk forming on her lips. As she spoke, it was with a hint of a laugh: "Alice, huh?"
"That's right," Alice replied, though she found herself almost laughing with her. "Is there something wrong with that?"
"No, not at all," Claire said. "I've always liked the name Alice."
Not quite sure what to do with that, she turned back to the book. The first time that she had looked at the books which Umbrella had supplied for her, she had noticed it among them. She figured that they had chosen it either because they somehow knew that she had always meant to read it, or because someone in the Corporation had an ironic sense of humour. Or perhaps they had chosen it at random.
Still, she found herself unable to focus on it again, so she glanced back up at the redhead.
Claire took a sip of coffee to wash down a mouthful of eggs; then she commented, "Raccoon City seems to be getting bigger. This place is new."
"So you're not from around here, I take it?" Alice asked.
"No. I'm just visiting my brother," Claire answered, breaking off a piece of bacon. She finished chewing before she continued: "Chris Redfield. Do you know him?"
Alice shook her head. "I don't."
"Anyway, he works with S.T.A.R.S., and he's always telling me that I should sign up, because they could use a mechanic, but I like Buffalo too much to move. And Gus would flip his shit if I left now, after he just finished training me."
Intrigued, Alice arched an eyebrow. "You look young to be a mechanic."
"I'm almost twenty-five," Claire said defensively, as if she were used to getting that response. Then she shrugged, and her voice was lighter, with a hint of humour as she added, "And I've always been good with my hands."
Alice's other eyebrow joined the first. "Is that so?"
"Yeah," Claire confirmed, sipping her coffee. "It is."
The younger woman picked up her toast, taking a bite as her blue eyes swept over the room for the first time since she sat down. She took her time looking at everything, finishing the slice before she finally remarked, "This place is nice."
It certainly was. Especially, Alice realized with a hint of surprise, when she had someone to share it with – even if that someone were a complete stranger.
"I like it," Alice agreed aloud.
Claire finished the last of her bacon, also washing it down with her coffee. She was almost done eating, and it made Alice wonder how much longer she would be staying. Presumably she needed to meet up with her brother soon and would want to, having come all the way from Buffalo.
"So you said you're from Buffalo?"
"Well, I'm living there," Claire explained, "but that's because it's where I went to college. I sorta fell in love with the city and just never made my way back."
Alice added, "Except to visit your brother."
"Yeah, though I really should visit more often," the redhead admitted, looking a bit ashamed that she apparently did not. "But, I mean, gas prices are a bitch, and it's out of the way."
Alice smiled reassuringly. "Hey, I hear you. That must be a long trip."
Claire nodded. She finished the last of her food and said, "It is. I actually stopped off in Detroit last night; crashed on my friend's couch. Chris is at work, so I just planned to meet him during his lunch break, then again tonight after his shift. I guess I'll be killing some time later, too. Know any other good places to eat?"
Alice's smile widened. She did indeed: "Che Buono. I recommend the mushroom risotto with a bottle of Chianti Classico."
The redhead finished her coffee. Then she said boldly, "Hey... this might sound weird, but would you like to go with me? I don't really know Raccoon all that well; it would be nice to go with a friend."
Claire's proposition bemused Alice: it was not so much the invitation itself – or even her use of the word friend, which admittedly was a surprise – but rather, it was the way that her request somehow managed to sound at once so very strange and yet also perfectly natural, as if they had not just met. But they had.
What really caught her off guard, however, was how very appealing she found the idea of having a friend in this woman... and perhaps even something more. But even though she had the day off, there were a number of protocols that she needed to run through on Sunday evening, in order to be sure that the system was running smoothly as they moved into the new work week. Spence would be pissed if she just blew the responsibility off, and especially if she did so to go to dinner with someone else.
"I'd love to," Alice began, and she really meant it, "but I have a prior commitment."
"Oh. That's alright," Claire said, looking a little embarrassed. "I probably shouldn't have just assumed you would be free..."
Alice reached across the table and laid a reassuring hand on her arm. "It's a work thing. Trust me. I would rather go with you."
This seemed to relieve her, for the brightness returned to her clear blue eyes. She thought about it for a minute and then asked, "Do you come here a lot?"
"Just when I have time off. Usually on Sunday."
The redhead went on: "So, if I came back this way in a month, think I might run into you here again?"
"I don't know," Alice said, truthfully. She almost always had Sundays off, but it depended on when Spence decided to take his own time. At least one of them always had to be at the mansion, unless someone else with the proper authorization covered the shift. "It's possible."
"Great," Claire replied, smiling. She rose from her seat. "I should probably get going. Chris will start to wonder what took me so long."
Alice could not help but retort jokingly, "Won't he figure you're just talking to someone you hardly know?"
The redhead shrugged. "I don't think so. I haven't before."
"Is that right?"
"Yeah," Claire said. "But there's always a first time for everything."
Alice laughed at that. "So it seems."
There was a brief, awkward silence for the first time since Claire had come over to join her. How – was Alice's dilemma – did one say goodbye to a stranger... who was now actually sort of a friend?
As if her body were acting of its own accord, she stood up as well. Then they were walking together out of the cafe, out onto the streets of Raccoon City. The sun was still shining as bright as before, its rays casting pleasant warmth down on them both. Parked in one of the spaces out front was a Harley, glinting in the sunlight.
"Is this yours?" Alice asked, admiring it.
She had always liked motorcycles, though she had never bothered to get a license for one.
"Sure is," Claire said proudly, running a hand over the metal. "I rebuilt it myself. Maybe next time I'm here, I'll give you a ride on it?"
Alice smiled. "I'll hold you to that."
That is, she thought sceptically, if they actually did cross paths again.
But Claire seemed assured that they would. The redhead climbed onto the Harley and started it, the machine roaring to life beneath her; she seemed at home there, as if the bike were an extension of herself. Once again, that brilliant confidence shone forth from her.
"Are you sure you can't get out of that work thing?" Claire asked, indicating the back of the motorcycle.
Alice wanted nothing more than to climb on behind her, but life is a little different at twenty-seven than it is at twenty-four: She was well on her way to thirty, to that epitome of adulthood, which made the whim of youth not quite appropriate anymore.
"I really can't," Alice answered, ruefully.
"Then I guess I'll see you in a month?"
Alice nodded. "I guess you will."
"I'll hold you to that," Claire replied, mimicking her earlier statement and earning a laugh in doing so. "See you later, Alice."
With that, Claire pulled the Harley out of the parking space and rode away. Alice watched her go; shaking her head, she made her way to her own vehicle.
They would meet again, in about a month's time as they said, but neither woman could have imagined the circumstances under which the reunion would occur.
But at the present moment, as Alice headed back to her "home," she found that just as she was comforted by the potential which existed in a new day, so she enjoyed the mere possibility that she might see Claire again at some point.
And if, several days later, when she finally gave in to Spence's advances out of loneliness and a need for human contact, she were imagining that it was the gorgeous redhead's mouth on her own instead of his and her lean body pressing her down into the mattress, well that was just another one of those fancies which Alice could not control. She did not give it a second thought; nor did she consider the repercussions of sleeping with Spence.
For not even Alice, who thought she knew him adequately well after living with him for two months, could have fathomed the evil of which Spencer Parks was capable.
* That is a direct quotation from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, chapter 1 (Down the Rabbit-Hole). You can expect many references to this and Through the Looking Glass, because I'm a nerd and ever since I heard Paul say on the commentary to Genesis that he had intended to make it as an Alice allegory, I have considered that absolutely canon. (Also, my quote at the top - the latin portion anyway - was taken from Don Quixote. Random tidbit, I know. Yay English majors).
So, what does everyone think?